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Planning for Drought: Moving from Crisis to Risk Management


Lincoln, Nebraska U.S.A.. U.S. and Australia: A Comparative Analysis ... National government has played a major role in the provision of drought assistance ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Planning for Drought: Moving from Crisis to Risk Management

Australian and U.S. Drought Policy
Experiences Are Lessons Learned Transferable to
Dr. Donald A. Wilhite, Director National Drought
Mitigation Center University of Nebraska Lincoln,
Nebraska U.S.A.
U.S. and AustraliaA Comparative Analysis
  • U.S. and Australia drought prone nations
  • National government has played a major role in
    the provision of drought assistance
  • Both governments have traditionally approached
    drought management via crisis management
  • Recent severe drought events continue to foster
    an ongoing debate on policies and management

Recent 1999 to current drought event
Drought occurs virtually every year in the U.S.
Australian Drought March 2002-January 2003
  • Rainfall percentiles

History of Australian Drought Policy
  • Until 1989, drought was officially considered a
    natural disaster
  • Relief was via State Governments, and
    increasingly, the national Government often on an
    ad hoc basis
  • In 1989-early 1990s, official view changed
    drought should be viewed as a natural part of the
    Australian environment, and farmers should adopt
    a risk management approach
  • In July 1992, a National Drought Policy was
    formally agreed

Australias National Drought Policy 1992
  • Principles
  • Encourage primary producers and other sections of
    rural Australia to adopt self-reliant approaches
    to managing climate variability
  • Maintain and protect Australias agricultural and
    environmental resource base during extreme
    climatic stress
  • Ensure early recovery of agricultural and rural
    industries, consistent with long term sustainable

Australias National Drought Policy
  • Core principle of self-reliance, i.e. farmers in
    best position to develop agronomic systems,
    practices, and business strategies to manage
    agriculture drought
  • Moved drought policy from subsidy-based, crisis
    driven approach
  • Focused rural Australia on developing risk
    management strategies to manage climate and
    market variability

Australian Drought Policy Components
  • Role of government is to provide farmers with
    skills/tools to help manage in self-reliant
  • Research into climate variability and predictions
  • Seasonal climate predictions
  • Decision support tools
  • Training and educations
  • Tax incentives and social support
  • Increase resiliency to drought through proactive,
    mitigation measures

Drought Exceptional Circumstances (DEC)1995
  • Direct government intervention warranted only
  • Drought is exceptional event (i.e., rare and
  • Rare 1 in 20 year event
  • Severe gt12 consecutive months or 3 consecutive
    failed seasons
  • Drought must affect a significant portion of
    businesses in the region
  • Raised questions and debate over the criteria to
    be used to make this decision

U.S. Progress in Drought Planning and Policy
  • Before early 1980s, states relied on federal
    government for assistance
  • Early 1980s saw a rapid increase in state drought
    response plans
  • Emphasis on response planning continues 1996
  • Increasing number of state plans with emphasis on
    mitigation planning, i.e., risk management
  • Currently, 38 states with drought plans
  • Movement by states to emphasize drought planning
    has placed pressure on the federal government to
    develop a risk-based national policy

  • Key Components of Drought Plans include
  • Monitoring, prediction, and early warning
  • Risk and impact assessment
  • Mitigation and response

Benefits of Drought Plans
  • Proactive, emphasizes mitigation and response
  • Improves coordination between and within levels
    of government ? organizational structure
  • Enhances early warning through integrated
    monitoring efforts
  • Involves stakeholders

Benefits of Drought Plans continued
  • Identifies areas, groups, sectors at risk
  • Reduces economic, environmental, and social
    impacts (i.e., risk)
  • Reduces conflicts between water users
  • Improves information dissemination ? better
    delivery systems
  • Builds public awareness

National Drought Preparedness Act
  • Creates National Drought Council
  • Federal and non-federal members
  • National Office of Drought Preparedness
  • Emphasis on risk management
  • Promotes drought preparedness planning
  • National Integrated Drought Information System

  • Political will must be present to change the
    drought management paradigm
  • Leadership and the appropriate organizational
    framework is criticalcollaboration/partnerships
    within and between levels of government is
    essential in drought planning and policy
  • Stakeholders must be involved early and often in
    the development of policies and plans
  • Public education and awareness building is
    critical for decision makers, policy makers, the
    media, and the public

  • Transitioning from crisis to risk-based drought
    management requires additional financial
    resources up front to implement mitigation
  • Risk-based management will lessen impacts and the
    need for government and donor intervention
    through improved self-reliance
  • A risk-based management approach requires
    improved assessment tools and higher resolution
    analysis to better target mitigation actions and
    response programs

  • Information for decision support must be
    efficiently delivered to users that are trained
    in the application of the information
  • Nations can learn from one another, adapting
    monitoring and risk and impact assessment tools
    and planning methodologies to national needs
  • Drought plans and policies must be dynamic,
    incorporating lessons learned and changing
    societal vulnerability because drought risk is a
    product of both exposure to the hazard and the
    vulnerability of society to the hazard (i.e., the
    social dimension of drought) Risk Hazard x

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